Music for thought May – June 2014

Béal return with a series of special events organised around the idea of notated classical music as conceptual art. Each concert re-examines the possibilities of what can happen when a composer and performer work outside of existing stereotypes. The series includes the Irish premiere of a major work by Tom Johnson, and new works by Christopher Fox and David Bremner. The series is bookended with readings by long-time Béal collaborator, experimental poet Maurice Scully.

Concert 1 includes The Dukes of Banjax, a loud, immersive composed/improvised environment by David Bremner, which draws upon and extends the banjo’s brackish, downbeat, sketchy flavour. Nonchalant melodies and scrappy riffs are complemented by a ‘randomised drum-machine’ of processed banjo samples.

Concert 2 features Organ and Silence, a large-scale work for organ solo by Tom Johnson, made up of bursts of logically-developing figures separated by large tracts of silence. As Johnson writes, “My music had always been minimal in some way, but this was quite another way, and now I began really listening to the silence, or rather to the silences, noting how different one could be from another, and enjoying the freedom that silence gives to listeners. The work will be performed in the reverberant acoustic of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, by the Cathedral‘s Assistant Organist, David Bremner.

Concert 3 features Sea to the West, Christopher Fox‘s new setting of text by Cumbrian poet Norman Nicholson, specially written for soprano Elizabeth Hilliard, alongside extracts from his multi-movement Catalogue Irraisoné, The Seafarer by Gráinne Mulvey, and excerpts from Récitations by Georges Aperghis. Fox writes of his new work: €”It’€˜s based on Norman Nicholson-s poem about the Cumbrian coast, a text I’€˜ve wanted to set ever since I heard him read it, more than 30 years ago. The electronics (sine tones and fragments of playback) emphasise wave-forms and the act of memory”.


9th May, 8.30pm
Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall
New music for banjo and electronics / soprano by David Bremner featuring Joe O‘Farrell (banjo), Elizabeth Hilliard (soprano), Maurice Scully (poet)


23rd May, 7:30pm
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
The Irish premiere of a large-scale work by Tom Johnson, performed by David Bremner


6th June, 8.30pm
Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall
Music for soprano and electronics: the world premiere of Sea to the West by Christopher Fox and The Seafarer by Gráinne Mulvey, also Fox: Catalogue Irraisoné (exc.), Georges Aperghis: Récitations (exc.) performed by Elizabeth Hilliard (soprano), Maurice Scully (poet)
Tickets €12 / €8 | May be purchased from the National Concert Hall box office (no booking fees) Book now on 01 417 0000 or visit


Newsletter Sign Up

Please fill in the information below and click the ‘subscribe’ button to sign up for our regular e-newsletter:
* indicates required
Please tick below that you are happy for Christ Church Cathedral to contact you via email with our regular newsletter:
You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.